Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats

344                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
He wrote letters, moreover, to the Governors of the
various provinces, denouncing the treaty and threatening
with expulsion from the sect and with death all Shias who
refused to fight.
At the same time he took the more formal step of
despatching an envoy to Constantinople with the laconic
message, cc Restore the provinces of Persia or prepare for
war." Having by these means excited the inhabitants of
the country against their Shah, Nadir Kuli marched to
Isfahan. There he upbraided Tahmasp, and then seized
him and sent him prisoner to Khorasan ; but, as lie
did not yet feel in a position to usurp the throne, he had
recourse to the ancient device of an infant puppet in the
person of a son of Tahmasp, and was himself proclaimed
The Battle of Karkuk, A.H. 1146 (1733).óNadir's
second campaign opened with the siege of Baghdad, whose
defender, Ahmad Pasha, after being defeated in the open,
was prepared to offer a desperate resistance. The situation,
however, was entirely changed by the advance of a power-
ful Turkish army under Topal1 Osman. Nadir unwisely
divided his force and, leaving twelve thousand men to
occupy the trenches before Baghdad, marched north to
meet the Turks at Karkuk or Kirkuk, near Samarra.
The battle was one of the fiercest ever fought between
the two nations. At first the Persians gained an advantage
in defeating the Turkish cavalry, but the flight of the
horsemen left the formidable Ottoman infantry unmoved,
and its advance restored the battle. Nadir had expected
aid from a body of Arabs, but they attacked one of his
flanks. Gradually the battle went against the Persians,
the horse of the. Persian leader was twice shot under him,
and his standard-bearer fled, believing him to be killed.
This decided the day, and after eight hours' desperate
fighting, the Persian army was routed. The news quickly
reached Baghdad, where the isolated Persian division was
then annihilated. The main army fled in disorder and
in a state of such demoralization that it was not re-formed
1 Topal signifies a " cripple.'*    As a young man Osman had been badly wounded and
be never recovered the full use of his legs.